Hab-it: [noun] an acquired behaviour pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.
The human brain is an exceptionally complex machine which allows us to breathe, eat, watch tv, txt and hold a conversation simultaneously.
From an early age our lives are shaped and molded through routine and repetition. It's thanks to this structure that order prevails (most of the time), sending chaos and anarchy to the spare room to be dealt with at a later date.
Like it or not, we are ALL creatures of habit. We like certain things, and we prefer them a particular way. Have you ever asked someone to do something for you, then just gone ahead and redone it yourself anyway?
Whether it's age catching-up with me, or just a newfound sense of adventure, I've recently taken to sprinkling a little spontaneity into my days. I'm not talking "throw caution to the wind and live on the edge" kinda' stuff, more so the "hey I'll try something a little different for a change" attitude.
For example, it is well documented that I have a fondness for Petit Cafe (Kuranda) crepes buried under a sea of salted caramel, banana and bacon. So imagine the Chef's surprise when instead of my usual (which is a custom creation, and doesn't appear on the menu) I ask for a #33 - homemade strawberry & rhubarb compote, dark Belgian chocolate sauce, toasted almond flakes, fresh mint and vanilla ice-cream. Sure, part of me still craved the salty, sweet, meaty goodness of my usual, but I still felt satisfied and nourished nevertheless. Would I do it again? I honestly don't know.
Like most, my daily rides are well planned and regimented. Thanks to my Coach (Paul Mason, FTP Training) who directs me through Today's Plan via my Garmin, all I need do is ride my bike and keep aware of my surroundings. Routes are generally the same, with minor changes made en route depending on time, weather and energy levels.
To spice things up I've been rolling out the door with no idea where I'm going, making it up as I go. On the days where I have time, I've escaped up the hill to explore new areas; leaving few stones unturned in the search of adventure (no locked gates were jumped over though).
Often times we get caught-up in the routine of life, just coasting through on autopilot and watching the scenery go by. We make the same safe choices, knowing the eventual outcome long before it arrives. So, why not mix-it-up? You may even surprise yourself and like what you find.
From now 'til Christmas I challenge you to try something different each week; join a social group ride, grab a coffee somewhere new, try a crepe at Petit Cafe, wear some loud fluoro socks, borrow a friends road/mountain/cyclocross bike ... or give your bike mechanic a hug and thank them for keeping you rolling (pizza and beer also works).